Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Tasty Tuesday: Baked Ziti

Last week I was really craving baked ziti and so did a last minute switcheroo in our meal plan. I found this recipe Simply Recipes and it was phenomenal and so easy! My favorite part was the sauce, which was just a doctored jarred marinara. It came out so good, though, I think I'll make it instead of my typical pasta sauce for spaghetti.

The recipe calls for either ground beef or Italian sausage. I used a spicy Italian turkey sausage and it was perfect. I think adding some spinach could be delicious, but I didn't have any on hand. It is a really an all around great meal for a cold night.

Confession... totally not my picture!!!

Baked Ziti

1 pound ziti (can sub penne) pasta
Olive oil
1 pound bulk Italian sausage or ground beef or pork
1 large onion, chopped
3-4 garlic cloves, chopped
1 Tbsp fresh rosemary (or basil), minced
1 Tbsp Italian seasoning
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 large jar of marinara sauce (about 32 ounces) or make your own tomato sauce
1/2 pound of mozzarella cheese, grated
1 heaping cup of ricotta cheese
1 cup grated parmesan or pecorino cheese

1 Bring a large pot of water to a strong boil. Add about a tablespoon of salt for every 2 quarts of water. Add the pasta and boil, uncovered, until the pasta is al dente—edible but still a little firm. Drain the pasta through a colander. Toss with a little olive oil so the pasta does not stick together while you make the sauce.

2 Pour a tablespoon or so of olive oil into a large sauté pan on medium-high to heat. When the oil is hot, add the bulk sausage or ground meat. Do not crowd the pan (work in batches if needed). Break up any large chunks of sausage as it cooks. Brown well. Don't stir that often or it will be more difficult for the meat to brown. If you are using ground beef or pork instead of sausage, add a little salt.

3 When the meat is mostly browned, add the onions and stir well to combine. Sauté everything until the onions are translucent and beginning to brown, about 4-5 minutes. Add the garlic, rosemary or basil, Italian seasoning and red pepper flakes and stir to combine. Cook 1 minute, then add the tomato sauce and stir well. Bring to a simmer.

4 Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spread a thin layer of sauce in the bottom of a 9x13-inch casserole pan, then dot the surface with half the ricotta cheese. Ladle in some sauce with the pasta, mix it well and add the pasta into the casserole.

5 Pour the rest of the sauce over the pasta, dot the remaining ricotta cheese over the pasta, and sprinkle on top both the mozzarella and the Parmesan cheese. Bake in the oven until the top is nicely browned, about 20 minutes.

Yield: Serves at least 8


  1. Thank so much for stopping by my blog and commenting! I'll have to try this. The ingredients seem similar to lasagna, which I love, but for some reason my kids hate. They like every other kind of pasta though. Something about the presentation, I guess. I think it would be great with spinach too!

    1. For some reason, my husband who won't touch lasagna likes this!


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